A WORRYING trend of motorists watching films and TV programmes on their mobile phones while driving has been spotted by Warwickshire Police.
A police mobile phone operation between February 20 and March 12 caught four drivers watching films or TV on their mobile while driving along the county’s motorways.
This included a car driver who was watching a film on his mobile phone while driving at 55mph on the motorway and a van driver who was also watching a film on his mobile phone while driving. Both were caught during Op Tramline and both were reported.
These results are even more concerning when considered alongside a survey, carried out for the RAC Report on Motoring 2020 that indicates the growing popularity of FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat for video calls is posing a new and present danger on the UK’s roads.
Sergeant Shaun Bridle said: “Good drivers are good because they know when driving it is essential to keep your full attention on the road because your safety, the safety of your passengers and the safety of other road users is far more important than a film or text.
“It is totally unacceptable to watch a film or programme whilst driving or to interact in any way with a handheld mobile phone. The safest thing to do for you and other road users is to wait until you are safely parked before using your mobile, or other device.”
As increased numbers of officers took to the roads to look for drivers using a handheld mobile phone, a further 39 drivers were stopped and issued with Traffic Offence Reports for using a handheld mobile phone while driving.
As well as 22 car drivers, 10 HGV drivers and 10 van drivers, this included the driver of a school bus with school children on board caught using a mobile phone.
All these drivers could receive a £200 fine and six points and if they are within the first two years of passing their test they’ll lose their license and have to retake their theory and practical tests again. Some may lose their jobs.
Eighty eight per cent of drivers who received TORs were male and 93 per cent were over 25-years-old. Fifty eight per cent of offences were on motorways where speed limits are up to 70mph.
Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership Philip Seccombe said: “It’s disappointing to see so many drivers placing others at risk by using their mobile phones while driving, whether by making calls or, even more alarmingly, by watching videos while behind the wheel.
“This can never be acceptable and demonstrates why as a Partnership we are putting so much emphasis on changing general attitudes to driving. Only by everyone becoming responsible road users can we achieve our aim of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 50 per cent by 2030.”